You know a country is in trouble when the smartest people leave. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard people say that they are planning to leave, or have already left. Many have written the country off saying they see no future in Bahrain. It’s heart-wrenching!
I’m talking about smart, educated and high-value people. They will be well paid abroad and do very well for themselves.
And Bahrain will lose out.
A nation is built by it’s brightest who see a future for the country and it’s people. Conversely, a nation decays when it’s brightest leave. They see no light at the end of the tunnel. Can you really blame them? Who would have thought that our crisis would last two and a half years! Back in 2011 I thought it would be over within a couple of weeks. How naive I was!
A friend – who’s a finance guy – recently told me that Bahrain has a negative figure for Foreign Direct Investment! Meaning more money is leaving than coming in! Sigh…
“Suhail, where would you go?”
I’m having a lot of conversations these days about people’s “Plan B”; where they would go if Bahrain fell into complete chaos. The popular places to emigrate, within the Middle East, are Dubai and Qatar. These two states seem to have this attractive halo around them (of course all that glitters is not gold.) As for non-Middle Eastern countries, the popular destinations seem to be Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the US.
Friends have asked me where I would go. I reply that I’m not leaving this place. They then insist, “what if you had no choice and had to leave Bahrain. Where would you go?”
Good question… I can’t imagine living anywhere else. I’ve lived the first 12 years in Riyadh, then lived here for seven years till the age of 19. I then moved to the UK to study and work, and lived there for about eight years. I finally moved back here 11 years ago. This is home. But if someone were to put a gun to my head, and force to me choose somewhere, I guess I would choose the UK. I know London well and love the city, but I’m not sure how happy I would be living there again. I can’t take the weather and the traffic.
Germany would be another option (my mother is German), but it would be difficult to adapt. I’d need to really brush up on my German. Either way I’d need to start a business again, and that would not be easy either… to be honest, just thinking about it makes me depressed!
No! We have to believe! We have to believe, despite the depressing headlines and the lack of political progress that things will work out. We can’t all leave! Some of us have to stay and rebuild this country.
Not only will it thrive again, but things – God willing – will be so good that all those who have left will come back again.
We have to keep hoping.
Thanks for listening to this rant, talk soon.